Published: July 12, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Capsule Auctions
NEW YORK CITY – Antiques and fine art from the private collection of Joseph Rondina were the marquee items crossing the block at Capsule Auctions on June 29. Rondina was an internationally renowned antiques dealer who built a distinguished private collection of antique furniture, objets d’art, fine art and Asian art. The small sale presented by Capsule reflected Rondina’s impeccable taste and discriminating eye, including furniture from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, choice examples of fine art, as well as antiques from Asia and around the world. This collection, totaling 281 lots, was split into two sessions based on content, bidder interest and allowing a break for the auctioneer. Session I’s sales total was $310,811 (92 percent sold) and Session II grossed $193,445 (93 percent sold). Three online platforms – Invaluable, LiveAuctioneers and Capsule’s own – were active.
First stop – Asia. A pair of Chinese elm folding step stools, part of the Asian arts session of Rondina’s collection left the $400/600 estimate on the ground, climbing to $50,700. Featuring friezes with carved details, the footrest hardware had raised bosses and scrolling patterns. Possibly used for equestrian mounting, the stools were 19¼ by 22¼ by 19½ inches. They were won by a local bidder.
Louis Vuitton luggage is always a first-class draw for bidders as evidenced by the recent successful Doyle Galleries single-category luxury travel sale of June 21. In the Capsule sale, a Louis Vuitton monogram canvas trunk offered in Session II sold for $23,750. A travel library trunk, standing 18½ inches high and measuring 26½ inches wide, the trunk’s exterior carried the “LV” monogram and featured brass hardware stamped “060816” with maker’s marks and two leather side handles, its underside mounted with wooden slats. The interior had felted lining and was fitted with shelves and straps to the center and doors.
More stools – this two-pair lot of Chinese examples sold in Session I for $20,150. Each seat was inset with a woven panel and each stood 19 inches high.
Fetching the same amount was an oil on canvas by James Hiroshi Suzuki (American, b 1932). Titled “Divulge,” the color field work in dapples of blue, gold and green hues was signed lower right and measured 30 by 35-3/8 inches. Its frame verso was inscribed in ink and with a label: “Personal Property of Sarah Hunter Kelly,” the interior decorator profiled in a 1981 New York Times article titled “A Lifelong Taste for Good Taste.”
A surprise was an oil on canvas by French artist Tancrède Synave (1870-1936), a mis-en-scene, “Première à Paris du ‘Spectre de la Rose’ (Premier in Paris of ‘The Spirit of the Rose’) (1914) depicting the 1911 premiere of Sergei Diaghilev’s production danced by Nijinsky and Karsavina. It was estimated just $400/600 but did much better, settling at $19,375. Signed lower right, it measured 32 by 39½ inches.
By Louis Valtat (French, 1869-1952), a colorful bouquet, “Vase d’Anémones et Jonquilles” (Vase with Anemones and Daffodils), circa 1906, was an oil on card mounted to canvas. Initialed “L.V.” lower right, the 9½-by-13-inch painting in a carved giltwood frame had provenance to Wally Findlay Galleries and was accompanied by a 1969 photocopied certificate of authority from Louis André Valtat, the artist’s grandson. It was bid to $16,250.
There were many Chinese sancai-glazed figures in Rondina’s collection. Two of them in particular were notable. Two caparisoned horses, which sold for $10,400 and two figures of camels, which were led out at $9,375.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. A Deco-inspired sale is in the offing on July 28. For information, 212-353-2277 or www.capsuleauctions.com.
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